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Wednesday, 3 December 1930

Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - I desire to bring before the Senate an old grievance. It is that of Mr. Mark Young, an ex-officer of the Commonwealth Bank who was, in a sense, dismissed from the bank about seven years ago, and has ever since been attempting to get an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the loss of his position. This was not a straight-out dismissal. His resignation was, in a measure, enforced, because of the insistence that he should take a position which would have been considerably lower than the one he occupied. At one time Mr. Young was manager of the Melbourne branch, and I think he was also, for a time, manager of the London branch, but when the trouble arose between him and Mr. Kell, who was at the time Acting Governor, he was Chief Inspector in New South Wales. No charge of incompetency or inefficiency was raised against him, but possibly because of the ambition of others to occupy his job, or it may have been through jealousy arising from other causes, some person appears to have had sufficient influence with the Acting Governor to induce him to offer Mr. Young a position which he considered it was an insult and degradation to ask him to accept. His refusal amounted to his suffering a dismissal.

Senator Sampson - Did he resign?

SenatorRAE. - Yes, but he had no desire to resign. He considered that he was forced into resigning by the conditions imposed upon him. No man with dignity could accept them. It was something like a bank manager being made an office boy. It may not have been so extreme as that, but it was in that direction. The matter should not be considered a party question. An inquiry was held, but by those who were practically responsible for Mr. Young's leaving his position. It was, therefore, an appeal from Caesar unto Caesar, and Mr. Young considered that he was not given justice. I do not wish to delay honorable senators; I shall probably refer to the matter again. For the moment I wish to Tefer briefly to the complications of the case.

On the one hand, Parliament, as such, has no control over the working of the Commonwealth Bank. On the other band, Mr. Young does not urge that he has any legal claim for compensation and he knows that, after an absence of seven yeaTs, during the whole of. which he has been fighting to obtainsome recognition of his claim, the position that he previously occupied must have been filled, and that any reinstatement would bring about a disturbance of vested interests. He does, however, claim that he is entitled to consideration on moral grounds. If the bank will not take notice of a resolution passed by Parliament, Parliament is at least entitled to see that justice is done to a citizen who has been morally mistreated. This matter was before another place for debate in previous years, and the present Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin), the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Penton), and the Attorney-General (Mr. Brennan) all made speeches in which they declared that Mr. Young had a remarkably good case. A motion was submitted, but it was for the appointment of a committee of inquiry, or a royal commission, and it was rejected on a purely party vote, some of the members of the then Government expressing their sympathy with Mr. Young and admitting that they considered that he had a just claim. After all, the Commonwealth Bank is an instrumentality of the Commonwealth, and this Parliament has a right to see that justice is done irrespective of party or person. I ask the honorable senator who is at present in charge of the business of the chamber to bring the' matter before Ms colleagues of the Cabinet, and to indicate whether the Government is prepared to re-open the matter with the view to giving effect to the opinions that were expressed by several prominent members of the present Government when in opposition.

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